It takes literally weeks to escape the cycle of accidently biting your cheek, causing it to stick out slightly, causing you to bite it again, causing it to stick out slightly more, causing you to bite it again. Arggghh!
Archive for February, 2008
Sitting, thinking. Thinking, sitting. Pontificating, musing and deliberating and endlessly, endlessly worrying. Fucking existential bollocks, I’m sick of it. To able to drink would be nice. To escape the mindless, cyclical over analysing that’s driving me crazy. I despise the careerist, status orientated consumers, but I also envy them. They achieve their satisfaction from an endless cycle of working and buying, buying and working in which they seem to find some sort of bizarre contentment. Content in buying, satisfying themselves with big televisions sitting within mortgaged properties, representing achievement. This is living! The sportier-than-my-neighbour’s-car representing freedom, individuality and success. The frequent city break to feel cultured, the newly tiled bathroom to feel clean, the gated property to feel important, the saving account and pension to feel secure.
This modern living epidemic never stops, but then again who want it to? Everybody’s happy; happy painting their lives by numbers. Brother, ignorance is bliss. Amen to that. Why think about who you aren’t helping or what you might be contributing to when you can watch Eastenders in High definition and have a quiet life with a bit of cash in your pocket? I don’t blame them.
But I can’t do it. I can’t feel that contentment. I feel at odds with just existing. I love life but I’m smothered by middle class guilt, overwhelmed by societal expectation, shackled by possessions and trapped by my own neurosis. I literally don’t understand how I should be living. Part of me, the old, healthy, drinking, fingers in ears me thinks that worrying about who you bank with, where your food comes from, what you give to charity and how much you explore your so called yearning soul is so exclusively a middle class privilege and is, well frankly fuck off embarrassing. What a bunch of hippy bollocks. But another part of me, the part that’s always been there, the part that makes me think I’m a sell out moron every morning my alarm goes off, the part of me that feels life is so precious and scarce that I want to violently shake strangers in the street and scream at the top of my lungs “DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND?!” realises that it’s the most important decision in your life… how to actually live.
What is life if you’re not true to yourself, or you’re not brave enough to act on your instincts and cast aside everything that means nothing? Possessions. A secure job. A pension. I hate them all. Hate them, hate them, hate them. I feel their weight on my shoulders, the burden increasing every day as I wonder what to do. How to “get out”. How to live ethically, morally, truthful and most of all how to live free.
The truth is, as humans, most, if not all of us don’t want freedom. We have enough thank you very much. We’re free to go anywhere we like! Well, passports permitting. And money. Which is in turn dependent on employers. And then there’s the airline schedules of course. And the limited stay based on visa documentation (or lack of it). Well, we’re free to watch what we want on TV. Well, apart from what they choose to show. And we’re free to read what we like! Of course, depending on what the papers are allowed to print, what they chose to ignore and what books are not censored. Still, we’re free to say what we like. Unless it’s deemed politically incorrect or inciting terrorism. But we’re at least free to do what we want with our money. The fruit of our labours. As long as we declare it of course. And pay numerous taxes on it. And of course dependent on market fluctuations and the next pending pension’s crisis. But who cares, ‘cos look, Dot Cotton’s face in HD. Go on, look at the detail in that scrotum faced old biddy.
I don’t blame people for wanting to live what they might call ’simply’ (even though by definition, there is no simplicity to modern life). The path of least resistance is indeed the most tempting. As Christopher Brookmyre puts it, let advertising do their dreaming for them. He has a point. Even the lottery fantasy is just a unique product being pushed by Camelot. That can be the nice dream but it’s alright here thanks very much. We’re doing ok they demand. “The sleepwalking suburban slave classes in their Wimpey mock-Tudor penal colonies. A jail that needs no walls because the inmates have been brainwashed into believing they want to be there. Incarceration by aspiration”. And so the beat goes on.
But what to do. What to do. Sit and think. Think and sit. Pontificate, muse and deliberate some more. I know, we all know that you can’t drop out completely. Whatever that might entail. Henrik Ibsen said “to be oneself is to kill oneself”. You have to compromise, that’s clear. So why fight it at all? I think some people find it easier to paint by numbers than others, it’s just a case of how much you’re prepared to compromise on the given issue, that being your life. Or maybe more importantly, it’s realising how much you are already compromising and deciding to take back what’s rightfully yours.
A truly good book teaches me better than to read it. I must soon lay it down, and commence living on its hint. What I began by reading, I must finish by acting.
Henry David Thoreau